Birds | Sankofa Bird

The heron has always been special to us, a talisman of sorts, appearing at exactly the right time.  So it was only natural that when we wanted to pursue a new bird form we chose the heron, neck extended in full grandeur.  We worked on it for awhile; the neck was a bit tricky.  Then we took a two-month backpacking journey to Ghana in Summer 2000.

While exploring that country and its many cultures we learned of an intriguing symbol:  a bird looking back over its shoulders.  To the Ghanaians, this symbol, Sankofa, means “If there’s something in your past worth going back for, go back and get it.”  It has become an informal,  unifying national symbol and we saw it everywhere, painted on gourds, buildings, fences, posters, pop cans.  (Their bird form was not that of heron, but rather a rounder-bodied bird.)

When we returned home we excitedly began pursuing not the long-necked heron but the Sankofa heron.  Through time this bird form has come to represent to us primordial memory, the memory of our ancestors, what we have forgotten about life memory.  In this bird composition series these forms amplify the subtle and complex curvature that can be achieved in glass.  For us they have a soothing, sensual quality.  We never tire of looking at them or pondering the value of memory.